Yesterday, we celebrated the start of the New Year, and for many African-Americans, the end Kwanza, the week-long Afrocentric celebration between Christmas and New Years. While approximately two million black Americans celebrate the holiday, one Republican state senator is totally over the idea.

While Fox News has repeatedly pedaled the idea that there is a “War on Christmas,” Wisconsin Republican state senator, Glenn Grothman, has fired some not-so-subtle shots at Kwanza.

In a press release, Grothman recently argued Kwanza “divides Americans” and the holiday needs to be “slapped down.”

Grothman wondered:

“Why must we still hear about Kwanzaa? Why are hard-core left wingers still trying to talk about Kwanzaa — the supposed African-American holiday celebration between Christmas and New Year’s?”

“Of course, almost no black people today care about Kwanzaa — just white left-wingers who try to shove this down black people’s throats in an effort to divide Americans, he added. “Irresponsible public school districts such as Green Bay and Madison … try to tell a new generation that blacks have a separate holiday than Christians.”

Grothman also had a few angry words for Dr. Maulana Karenga, Kwanza’s founder. Grothman called Karenga, who was convicted of beating and torturing a woman in 1971,  “a violent nut,” and said Karenga “didn’t like the idea that Christ died for all of our sins, so he felt blacks should have their own holiday — hence, Kwanzaa.”

Predictably, many in Grothman’s home state are upset by his words. Meg Moen, treasurer of a local Democratic Party, called the senator’s press release “disgusting” and said it “drips with disdain for African-Americans.

Ironically, the celebration of Kwanza is supposed to promote unity, but this kerfuffle over the observance seems to be doing quite the opposite.

Do you celebrate Kwanza? What do you think of State Sen. Grothman’s words?

  • Yvette

    I don’t celebrate Kwanzaa, nor do I know anyone who does. BUT, that doesn’t give this man or anyone else the right to dictate what others should do. He needs to mind his own business because this so-called issue doesn’t affect him.

  • LemonNLime

    If I want to celebrate, “Wear a Cake as a Face Day” or “Put Jelly in My Shoes Day” or whatever else I might want to make up for any reason, that is MY choice NOT his and NOT the GOP’s.

    For a party that is supposedly anti-big government and pro-Constitution, they are ALWAYS in someone else’s business and trying to stop people from doing things, that aren’t illegal, but they just don’t happen to like.

  • http://theaaridan.tumblr.com TheMuseintheMirror

    This man needs to take a seat next to all the other idiots that run their mouth in things that they don’t have no knowledge of. I don’t understand some white people’s sense of entitlement to the world. I never really thought about it, but not that many African Americans do celebrate Kwanzaa. That’s a fact. However, my paternal side of my family has a tradition of celebrating Kwanzaa every year and it’s very important to them. It brings us all together. I think that if we really think about the actual African values that are celebrated throughout December 26th – January 1st we would realize how essential and necessary they are to preserve our culture, community, and identity.

    If Kwanzaa was a alternative celebration for Christmas then it would be on Christmas Eve or Christmas day. It’s not. I’m a Christian and I think that it’s essential for us to have both holidays….well for me anyways.

    I want to share this poem that I wrote last month about being black:

    “Being black is more than just a skin color, yet it was first used to pinpoint a certain skin tone.
    Being black is more than just a political movement, yet it caused people to value their identity.
    Being black is more than just a fad or fetish, its a lifestyle for “huemans” of various shades and cultures that live all over the world.
    Being black is more than just a “race”. Being black is more than just historically disadvantaged.

    Being black is more than just being poor. Being black is more than just being ghetto. Being black means more than just being an “angry black woman” or a “violent, beastly black man”, Being black is more than just being “physically equipped”. Being black is more than munching on some watermelons. Being black is more than just being loud. Being black is more than just nappy hair. Being black is more than just misogynistic rap videos. Being black is more than just being athletically talented.

    Being black is life and everything in it. Love and Pain. Joy and Sorrow.

    You could never put blackness in a box. It creates its own dimensions based on God’s standards of what a perfectly square cube should be.

    It takes years for a black person to realize it. Many white folks realize our greatness before we do. That’s where that long history of exploitation and cultural appropriation and imitation and imperialism and colonization and destruction and degradation of the African diaspora comes from.

    The great ‘Manifest Destiny’.

    When will we realize that we’ve been fooled all along?

    A highly esteemed black law professor at my college once told me that people in other countries look up to us. He said that in India (he recently visited the country), the Untouchables are influenced and inspired by African Americans and their battles despite the fact that they are worse off.

    When will we wake up and realize that being black is more than what we think it is?

    In essence, black is more than just a color…it’s a foundation.”

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    …Wait what? Personally I don’t celebrate Kwanza nor do I really celebrate Christmas so…shrugs but his views sound not only petty but loaded. How is celebrating Kwanza dividing Americans and hurting Christmas? Not everybody are Christians nor do some folks who identify with the Christian faith celebrate Christmas weather they are black, white, Asian,etc. and in turn not celebrating a highly theme “American” holiday doesn’t make you less American. yeah he sounds dumb as hell and is main problem with America. Off the top of my head I bet this guy has problems with black history month too..waiting to hear from him in February

  • Justmythough

    Nope and I agree with him. I wonder had this been someone black would there be so much to talk about. I doubt it. I love how we get upset at the silliest of things but when it comes down to real issues we are silent as a mouse!

  • http://beautifulmindtss.wordpress.com beautifulmind

    I wasn’t raised on Kwanzaa, but as I’ve gotten older and learned about the principles that this holiday teaches opposed to the materialism that Christmas has come to mean, I’ve decided to incorporate Kwanzaa with my Christmas celebrating. I wonder if these people purporting the “war on Christmas” know that that Holiday isn’t even about Christ but is a Pagan holiday that the catholic church mixed with in order to convert pagans… I therefore feel no conflict over mixing the two holidays.

  • mEE

    I don’t celebrate Kwanzaa and I only know one person who does but who the hell cares? what does celebrating Kwanzaa have to do with NOT celebrating Christmas and who gave this white man the authority to tell me what black people do or don’t celebrate? smh

    I didn’t know the Gregorian calendar came pre-populated with all the legitimate holidays and we weren’t allowed to add any.

  • http://tontonmichel.tumblr.com/ Tonton Michel

    If no one celebrates Kwanzaa why does he care. He just wants a sound bite.

  • Erin

    *SIGH* the white man continues to try to make Negroes forget our culture…..

  • kaybee

    I can’t speak for everyone but I don’t celebrate Kwanzaa nor do I want to. Jesus Christ is what matters to me. If someone Black said that comment people would probably respond totally different. I personally don’t have to hear much about this holiday & I’m happy with that.

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    i long ago stopped listening to what white people say…

  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

    Wow, some White people really hate it when Black people think for themselves.

  • dirtychai

    Kwaanza is not Black Christmas. If anything, it’s modeled closely to Hanukkah. White people give themselves too much credit.

  • Elizabeth

    There was no need for him to say that.I’ve heard of Kwanzaa a few times through the internet/tv and did my own research last year. Kaulenga is a very dodgy person as highlighted in the article and it’s funny how he uses Swahili words to connect AF-Am to their roots when Swahili is not a native language to West Africa where most slaves came from.It was originally created as a holiday for blacks so I can see in a way how it may be deemed racist. Anyways people should celebrate what they want to after all Christmas was originally pagan (Winter Solstice and Saturnalia) and is now “Christian”,I do think Kwanzaa can interfere with Christian beliefs as pouring libations is not in line with Christian teachings but as I said before people should feel free to live their lives as they please as long as they are not hurting anybody.

  • clara

    Is he right?? seriously Clutch sometimes I wonder who writes this ish? This is no time for fake objectivity…HELL no! Pick a SIDE!

  • http://addassamari.edublogs.org/ Gail

    It is times like these that I wonder why we give attention to the inane and asinine garbage that some people. Frankly, I fail to see what anyone celebrates in their homes or adopt as traditions has to do with any politician. It is not illegal or immoral…wait, that’s right, Blacks can’t have values or cultural values that promote principles that foster self-improvement, unless it is sanctioned by the “Great White Massa”. That speech has so much hot air it has contributed to rise in the global temperature.

  • mEE

    what does Jesus Christ have to do with Kwanzaa? celebrating one doesn’t negate the other. do you have a problem with Jews celebrating Hanukkah or Muslims celebrating Eid?

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    i just saw him on TV and he is barely articulate.
    we really should not give him any attention.

  • Kacey

    He’s absolutely right! I do not know a single person (of any race) who celebrates Kwanza. Seriously, all of you criticizing this man: How many of you celebrate Kwanza? Do you even know what it is?

  • Anthony

    Heck, I have never celebrated Kwanza or Juneteenth for that matter, so what? What does my non-participation have to do with those who do? The implication is that every single black person has to do something to make it legitimate. That is a stupid and racist idea if I ever heard one!

  • kc

    Yes, Dr. Karenga is a troubling man, but let us not forget all of the atrocities that have been and continue to be committed in the name of Christ. (The Crusades, European imperialism in Africa, child molestation, etc.) The man’s actions should not negate the meaning of Kwanzaa.

    Secondly, white people are so self-centered! According to this white man, a holiday started *by and for blacks* is simply white liberal puppetry?! SMH.

  • Yb

    Right? If a black person said this we’d give them props and say we need be more united.

    Fact is most black Americans DON’T celebrate Kwanzaa. Heck most can’t even spell it, let alone know its principles and what it embodies.Why be mad at what this white man said? Because a white man highlighted that many Black Americans are disconnected from our cultural celebrations? If he is so wrong, then black folks need to show it!!

    Ask a Jewish American about Hanukkah and see all they know.

    Ask a Black American about Kwanzaa and see how little they know.

  • dee

    am I supposed to?

    I really wish white people would stop telling black people what to care about.

  • Solaris

    I know many folks who celebrate Kwanza, including my family. =D The rituals contained in Kwanza are an uplifting,centering, and grounding experience for all involved, at least for my fam. For us (fam), celebrating Kwanza assists in building a proper foundation for achievement of goals, self-love, family unity, family prosperity, and community outreach for the New Year.

    What I have noticed is a slow appropriation of Kwanza by non-black ppl, specifically so-called ‘liberal’/progressive whites. No bueno!

    No one knows what other ppl do in their homes, but just b/c you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it ain’t so. And I echo what has already been said regarding whitespeak, especially whitemanspeak.

    Cheers, blessings, and good health to all in 2013=)

  • Wandaedie

    I don’t celebrate kwanza. Don’t care to. But that is for each person to decide for themselves. Any religious holiday can cause division. Why people are arguing about it is beyond me.

  • NOitAll

    Kwanzaa is NOT a religious holiday, AT ALL. I wish people would get that straight. And it wasn’t meant to draw people away from Christmas, quite the opposite. It’s the day after. So, if anybody is refusing to celebrate Christmas, it’s not because of Kwanzaa. They’re either fed up with the commercialism or they’re simply not Christian. And in the USA, there’s no law that says you have to be Christian.

  • NOitAll

    Yes! This!

  • NOitAll

    @beautifulmind I guarantee most Christians don’t know that Christmas is a pagan holiday. I mean what does a tree have to do with the birth of the messiah?

  • CanV

    This guy is way out in left field. People dont have jobs, our economy is struggling, people are losing/have lost faith and trust in our gov’t and he wants to talk about Kwanzaa??? This man must not be doing his job correctly OR must be doing something underhanded to be focusing on and attacking Kwanzaa, when there are truly other things to be focused on.

  • eshowoman

    Another angry, old white man gins up his racist base with fear and hatred. YAWN nothing to see here.

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